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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Man U's de Gea gets call against Fire

By Charlie Corr

Manchester United has high expectations for 20-year-old Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea to become a long-term replacement for the retired Edwin van der Sar.

De Gea makes his Man U debut when the Red Devils face the Chicago Fire this Saturday in a World Football Challenge match at Soldier Field (4 p.m., ESPN2).

"He will start on Saturday," Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson said during a press conference on Thursday. "He's had a few days training and he's done fine."

De Gea joined the Red Devils a few days before Wednesday's 7-0 victory at Seattle Sounders FC. The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper was signed to a five-year contract, and Ferguson gets his first extensive look at this key offseason acquisition.

"Being young and coming to the English game, the one area we're unsure of in this moment of time is he may need time," Ferguson said. "On the other hand, what Petr Cech did at Chelsea is he just took it by storm when he was 19, joined the Chelsea team and has never been out of it. And de Gea has got those same qualities."

In two matches this summer, Manchester United's goalkeepers have allowed only one goal. Anders Lindegaard surrendered the lone goal on July 13 against the New England Revolution for a 4-1 victory in a World Football Challenge match. Then Lindegaard split time with Ben Amos to pitch a shutout against Seattle on Wednesday for a lopsided 7-0 victory in an international friendly.

Lindegaard will create some tough competition with de Gea for the No. 1 goalkeeping slot, but Ferguson certainly believes that de Gea has all of the necessary intangibles to thrust himself into this position for the Red Devils.

"He's got terrific composure for a young man," Ferguson said. "He's quick. His use of the ball is excellent. So there are good ingredients there for our club."